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Eagles News: Philadelphia has some of the best defensive players in the NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/29/16.

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Preseason All-NFC East team: Defense edition - PhillyVoice
Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks, Malcolm Jenkins, and Rodney McLeod. Eagles 5, Giants 3, Redskins 2, Cowboys 1.

Eagles Mailbag: Cox’s Contract, Starting Corners - Birds 24/7
There’s not much new to report here, but this is (unsurprisingly) the most frequent question we get. I wouldn’t worry about anything unless Fletcher Cox decides to skip the June 7-9 mandatory minicamp. It’s possible Cox doesn’t show up, but there’s no clear indication one way or the other right now. If he does miss it, the Eagles can fine him $76,580, according to former agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry. You and I would show up to three days of work to make that kind of money, but Cox will receive $7.799 million this year, so it’s not exactly a big financial incentive for him. Cox wants to be in Philadelphia for a long time, and the Eagles want him to stay, so even amid him skipping all of the voluntary workouts, I wouldn’t worry too much for now.

Longer Look at Quentin Gause - Iggles Blitz
I  was mad when the Eagles drafted Ike Reese back in the spring of 1998. I don’t remember who I wanted them to pick, but Reese was a player I didn’t think much of. I didn’t see starting ability in him so spending a 5th round pick on him seemed like a waste. I was right about the fact that Reese never proved to be a starter. I was dead wrong about the pick being a waste. Reese was a key player for the Eagles for seven years, serving as a backup LB and being the leader of the team’s outstanding STs units. The Eagles didn’t spend a pick on Quentin Gause. They signed him as a UDFA shortly after the draft. If he could turn out to have a career anything like Reese, that would be great for him and the Eagles. Like Reese, I don’t see Gause becoming a starter at the NFL level. He also reminds me of Reese in the fact that he is high character, a good leader and is willing to do the dirty work. Gause could find a home on STs.

Kendricks out to rebound for the Eagles - Inquirer
Mychal Kendricks is one of the few holdovers from last season who retains the same locker stall at the NovaCare Complex. Doug Pederson's arrival meant that players returned to being grouped by position in the locker room rather than at random, as Chip Kelly preferred. It would be understandable, though, if Kendricks had asked to be moved a few stalls down - perhaps to DeMeco Ryans' old spot - to wipe away any reminder of the 2015 season. The linebacker didn't play well last year. At the very least, and by his own admission, he was inconsistent.

In aggressive D, Mike Martin trying to show Eagles his worth - CSN Philly
When Ray Horton brought his two-gapping 3-4 defense to the Tennessee Titans in 2014, Mike Martin wasn’t thrilled.  After all, the former third-round defensive tackle thought he was at his best in an aggressive get-up-the-field type defense, not the one full of lateral motion that Horton established in Tennessee.  But without recourse, Martin played out the last two seasons of his rookie deal in Horton’s defense, before joining the Eagles in free agency this offseason.

Could Kenjon Barner be working his way towards a starting job with Eagles? -
While there are no pads or hitting during practices, Barner has looked very sharp during the two practices open to the media, and has made a number of nice plays. It is clear watching Barner run the ball that he is quicker than Mathews, and does a much better job making sharp cuts than the veteran does. Barner has also been doing a nice job out of the backfield, and in the team's third minicamp which was held last week, the running back made a diving catch over the middle of the field, securing the ball before it hit the ground.

Leodis McKelvin: Deep Ball Is Top Priority -
Leodis McKelvin has one piece of advice for his new Eagles teammates who have not previously played for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz - take care of the deep ball. "It's always the most important thing," McKelvin said this week during the Eagles' Organized Team Activities. "I always tell them is to take care of the deep ball. ... If we take care of the deep ball, everything will be fine." Two years ago, McKelvin thrived in Schwartz's scheme as a member of the Buffalo Bills. McKelvin registered a career-high four interceptions. Buffalo led the league in fewest explosive pass plays allowed (20 yards or more) with 36 as well as touchdowns of 20 yards or more with three. Meanwhile, the Eagles were on the opposite end of the spectrum in 2014 with the most explosive pass plays allowed (72) and the second-most touchdowns (12).

Jim Schwartz’s presence on Eagles staff worth his sound bites -
Off-season workouts are only in their infancy, but it appears Doug Pederson’s vision for the Eagles is quickly coming to fruition, for better or for worse. At the league meetings in March, Pederson talked about how he hired Jim Schwartz to be not just the defensive coordinator but the trusted "head coach of the defense." The former Lions head coach showed that old habits die hard this week when he drew upon his experience and gave some unsolicited advice for dealing with a rookie first-round quarterback, as Philadelphia is with No. 2 pick Carson Wentz.

Biggest upcoming roster decision for all 32 NFL teams - ESPN
It’s already been one of the most heavily discussed stories of the offseason: How will the Eagles handle their quarterback quandary? Sam Bradford is set to be the starter; if he plays well, does Philly really elect to move on from him via trade? (The answer is likely yes.) How much would a team be willing to send the Eagles in a trade if Bradford plays well, understanding he’d need a new contract because his deal runs only through the 2017 season? If he struggles, how quickly would No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz assume a starting role?

Small-school rookies trying to prove they belong - SB Nation
Players who were drafted from small programs sometimes have higher ceilings.

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